So you’ve decided that this is the year you’re going to get in shape and stay in shape, yes? Here at Pedometers.org we want to work with you to keep you on track with your fitness goals. We have a lot of exciting developments planned over the next year and we’d like you to be part of our online family.
Even if the pedometer you are using is an older or simple monitor you can still walk with us – virtually – and meet those fitness goals. If you don’t have a pedometer yet and you’re sticking to budget with your back-into-shape regime, grab a simple step counter and let’s get moving!
In the end you don’t really need to track every mile you walk or every calorie you burn. As long as you are in relatively good health you also won’t need to worry about your heart rate or any of the other special features that many modern pedometers offer. However, with that said, if you’re walking alone you might like to have an MP3 capable pedometer so you can listen to your favorite music, podcasts or motivational tracks while you walk. It’s a great way to work out.
There are but a few basics to getting back into shape with a pedometer. First of all – unless you have a model that supports pocket or purse tracking, you’ll want to remember to always place your pedometer on your waist or hips for precise measurement and accurate step counts. The best place is directly above your hip bone so if you’re wearing a low-riding pant you may need to clip the pedometer on the bottom of a tight fitting shirt to get an accurate reading.
Next you’ll need to find some time to walk every day. This could be a morning walk with the dog, an after dinner walk around the block or, if the weather is terrible, just walking in place during the evening news or your favorite television show. Whatever you decide to do you’ll want your first goal to be taking 10,000 steps per day to get started. If you are carrying a lot of extra weight right now you can work out a plan for yourself to build up to that over the first or second week.
I know that 10,000 steps sounds like a lot but hear me out. On average the Monday to Friday,9-5 desk employee walks just under 2000 steps a day just going about normal activity. If this is your lifestyle you really only need to find an extra 8,000 steps more per day. On another post you’ll find some easy suggestions to incorporate more steps into your day – decreasing the time needed to meet your goal by day’s end.
If you will be working your way up to 10,000 steps per day please do it slowly. In fact you might want to speak to your doctor about your plans before you begin a walking regime. We are not doctors at Pedometers.org and have no idea of your current physical condition.
If you’ll be meeting your initial goal by walking outside you’ll need a good pair of sneakers or running shoes. Again, if you’re on a tight budget you might consider purchasing a pair of orthotic insoles as inserts into an older pair of running shoes you own. You will appreciate the extra support and shock absorbing value of a good shoe or insole after your first few walks. Furthermore either will help you keep your balance and support your joints while you walk yourself fit.
So, are you ready? Great! Let’s get walking….
For the first few days we suggest wearing your pedometer all day while you go about your daily business. At the end of each day write down the number of steps you already take to see if you fit into the ‘normal’ range. Our normal or average is about 2,000 per day just walking around the office, to lunch and to the car. However you may not park as far away from the office as we do or need to hand deliver messages and letters to co-workers. The point is, everyone is different.
Keeping in mind that your first goal is to walk a total of 10,000 steps per day increase your daily average by 1,000 to 2,000 steps per day until you are consistently and easily finishing the day at your goal.
To give you an idea of what is ahead for you, 10,000 steps per day helps the average person maintain their current weight given no other changes. 15,000 gets you moving towards losing weight.
The reason we start out at 10,000 is because you’ll be building muscle tone in the beginning and muscle tone increases your metabolism making your body more efficient at burning fat and losing weight (among other benefits).
If your primary goal is to loose weight it is in the third week or so that you might want to start weighing yourself regularly and keeping an eye on your food intake for high value foods. Remember food is fuel for the body and you’ll want to cut back on all the unhealthy diet choices to aid your body into efficient operation. Keep your journal updated with your healthy choices, the number of steps taken from your pedometer each evening and your weight. Just don’t get too hung up on the actual weight reading – muscle weighs more than fat and you’ll be building muscle during this process. If you are really concerned about your weight or size purchase a fat loss monitor (see the top of the page for a link to our review) for less than $40. They are as handy and as inspirational to have as a personal use pedometer.
You’re probably wondering what happens after 10,000 or 15,000 steps per day. Once you have reached your weight or fitness goal and are ready to increase your aerobic exercise to stay fit, gain better health overall or to support your heart.
Most doctors and fitness experts will caution to not be in a rush to take it to the next level and we agree. Keep wearing your pedometer and taking your 10,000 or 15,000 steps daily for at least another 4 months. It has been researched that it will take an average of six months for any activity to become a habit. You want this daily activity to be one of your new habits so that you can enjoy a lifetime of health so keep at it for another four months or so before moving onto a new regime or activity.